I have always had an interest in gardening but it gradually became an obsession when we ( Jenny and I ) decided to landscape our back garden in 2008. At which point our neighbour asked us to open our garden for Holy Trinity Church for 2009 which we did and thoroughly enjoyed it. This continued until 2014 in which year we were approached by the National Garden Scheme and agreed to open for them as part of a four garden Garden Trail which continued for three years. I explained to the NGS representatives what my intentions were for the front garden which was to transform it into my kind of tropical paradise which they were happy with. In 2017 we also opened for the Carers’ charity I volunteer with Supporting Carers and Families Together. In June 2018 we opened our garden for Little Havens Hospice based in Thundersley who I also volunteer with in their garden. We also opened our garden on 2 September 2018 for the Carers' charity.
We will be opening our garden for the Carer's Charity in July 2019 but disappointed to find out on 17 May 2019 that the organisers of the Little Havens Garden Trail have decided to open without us and did not tell us.
I also volunteer with the Rayleigh Horticultural Society where I have another garden space I am planting up.
In addition for the last four years, pre COVID, I have been helping Fay in her garden at the Dutch Cottage in Rayleigh. Having cleared a jungle of bramble, trees and loads of weeds and I have excavated a wildlife pond. See the section on Dutch Cottage. In January 2020 we put our experiences together and gave a talk to the Rayleigh Horticultural Society. I think about 90 members and guests attended. Luckily I did I did not know that many would turn up as If I had I might not have turned up.
In early 2018 I started a Carers' Garden Club and we are using the outside space at St Michaels. Fruit trees have been planted as well various vegatables. A large bug hotel has been constructed and Spring 2019 will see the construction of a wildlife pond. St Michaels now have other ideas so my work at the back of the small hall has stopped.
Again in addition I have a very small gardening business.
Our garden continues to evolve and I am never satisfied believing next year will always be better. Always looking for new plants and planting schemes. I always start planning for next year early which starts in earnest from September.
Each person's idea of paradise is different and it does not matter how big or small your space is you can create your own one. You can always make time for gardening which you will find exteremely rewarding. When I was working I was regularly up by 5am during the summer for an hours work in the garden.
There are about 200 plant varieties in our garden.
The picture above to the right is Canna Panache and is more beautiful that it looks here.
I have plenty of plants for sale each year, the proceeds of which eventually will go to charity. My general rule is 50% to charity this year and 50% in the pot to buy more plant material next year and hopefully raise more money. There is always a good selection of Cannas. If you are interested and are near enough to pop round then please let me know via Facebook. I had some success using Gumtree in 2018 but the heat put people off. I tried again in 2019 and did very well.
If I have a regret with gardening it is that I did not get the bug far sooner.